Whether you’re battling an infection or a cold, adding a few immune-boosting vitamins to your routine can be incredibly beneficial. In fact, certain vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements have been shown to fine-tune immune function, improve antibody production, and reduce inflammation to help you feel your best. form.
In this article, we will introduce you to the main dietary supplements that strengthen the immune system and their beneficial effects on your health, as well as simple suggestions on how to use them.
Many vitamins have been shown to help boost your body’s ability to ward off infections. Here are some of the main vitamins that strengthen the immune system.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a central role in immune function and is often used to help strengthen your body’s defenses against infection. Impressively, a 2006 trial in the journal Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism even found that getting enough vitamin C in your diet can help reduce the symptoms and duration of respiratory infections.
Recommended dosage: 75-90 milligrams for women and men, respectively.
2. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is an important micronutrient that is involved in many aspects of health. It is also one of the main vitamins that strengthen the immune system. Not only is vitamin D3 integral to immune cell function in the body, but a deficiency in this important micronutrient can actually increase the risk of infection. Be sure to opt for vitamin D3 over other forms, as it is the most effective in improving the status of vitamin D in the body.
Recommended dosage: 400-800 IU
3. Vitamin A
This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for the maintenance of healthy vision, healthy skin, and proper growth and development. In addition, vitamin A is also crucial for the development of certain immune cells necessary to fight against inflammation and infection, which has earned it a place among the best supplements to strengthen the immune system.
Recommended dosage: 700-900 EAR for women and men, respectively.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is both a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant, helping to fight free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to cells. As one of the main immune-boosting vitamins, studies show that vitamin E supplementation may improve immune function, boost white blood cell production, and increase resistance to infection.
Recommended dosage: 15 milligrams
5. Vitamin B6
Promising research suggests that vitamin B6 may help boost immune function to fight off foreign invaders in the body. According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, giving critically ill patients vitamin B6 significantly improved their immune response over a two-week period. Meanwhile, other studies show that a deficiency in this key vitamin can reduce the production of important antibodies involved in immunity.
Dosage recommendation: 1.2-1.7 milligrams
Several minerals have been studied for their impact on immune function and their ability to strengthen the body’s natural defense system. Here are some of the best minerals for immune health.
Often considered one of the most effective supplements for boosting the immune system, zinc is essential for maintaining overall good health. Research shows that zinc helps regulate the immune response and is necessary for the survival, proliferation and maturation of immune cells.
Clinical trials have also shown that an adequate daily intake of zinc can reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of serious conditions such as pneumonia and malaria.
Dosage recommendation: 8 to 11 milligrams for women and men, respectively.
Although best known for its role in the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen, iron is also considered one of the best dietary supplements to strengthen the immune system. Studies show that iron deficiency anemia can impair the body’s immune response, which can increase the risk of disease and infection. Women, infants, children, and people following a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at increased risk of deficiency.
Dosage recommendation: 8 to 18 milligrams for men and women, respectively.
Selenium is a powerful micronutrient that acts as an antioxidant to neutralize harmful free radicals and decrease cell damage. In addition to triggering immunity, studies show that selenium may also be involved in regulating excessive immune responses to prevent widespread inflammation. A review in Lancet also noted that low selenium intake may be associated with several negative health effects, including poor immune function, cognitive decline, and increased risk of mortality.
Dosage recommendation: 400 micrograms
In addition to the immune-boosting vitamins and minerals listed above, several other supplements may also benefit immune function. Here are some of the top immune-boosting dietary supplements to add to your routine.
1. Elderberry syrup
Derived from elderberries, elderberry syrup is often considered one of the best natural supplements for boosting the immune system. Rich in health-promoting polyphenols, elderberry syrup is frequently used as a natural remedy to treat flu symptoms and speed healing.
According to a study conducted in Israel, taking elderberry syrup four times a day for five days significantly shortened the duration of the flu compared to a placebo. Another review in 2019 concluded that elderberry may also help treat upper respiratory tract symptoms.
Dosage recommendation: 1 tablespoon up to four times daily.
Probiotics are a form of beneficial bacteria found in the digestive tract. Probiotic supplements have been linked to a long list of health benefits, including better digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and most importantly, improved immune function. In fact, studies show that probiotics regulate the function of certain immune cells and may even benefit immune-related conditions, ranging from viral infections to allergies and eczema.
Recommended dosage: 10-100 billion CFU
Besides giving a vibrant hue to curries, soups and sauces, turmeric has also been widely researched for its powerful medicinal properties.
In particular, curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been shown to reduce inflammation, enhance antibody responses, and modulate immune function, which may offer protection against diseases such as heart disease, allergies , arthritis and diabetes.
Dosage recommendation: 500-2,000 milligrams of turmeric extract.
4. Holy Basil
Also known as tulsi or Ocimum tenuiflorum, holy basil is commonly used as an adaptogen to help improve the way your body reacts and adapts to stress. This impressive herb also possesses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory effects and may be therapeutic for viral infections, cognitive function, and certain metabolic disorders.
Dosage recommendation: 300-2,000 milligrams
5. Oregano Essential Oil
Thanks to its powerful healing properties, oregano essential oil is often considered one of the best herbal immune supplements on the market, especially when it comes to fighting infections. For example, a study conducted by the University of Arizona measured the antiviral efficacy of oregano oil and its main active component, carvacrol, against non-enveloped murine norovirus (MNV) and found that it could help control the human norovirus. Another in vitro study demonstrated that oregano essential oil was also effective in inactivating certain strains of pathogenic bacteria.
Dosage recommendation: Dilute one drop in 12 cl of liquid.
Risks and side effects
While supplementation can be a useful tool to increase your intake of certain vitamins, minerals, or health-promoting compounds, remember that it should not replace a nutritious, balanced diet. Not only can nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes provide many of the vitamins and minerals listed above, they can also provide other essential nutrients to support immune health. , including fiber, heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.
If you have any underlying health conditions or are on medication, be sure to check with your doctor before adding any of these immune-boosting vitamins to your routine. In addition to finding the supplements that are right for you, they can also help you determine the right dosage to meet your specific needs.